Chapter 10: Case Study: Animal Welfare and Food Ethics
Summarize Peter Singer’s argument and choose either the Judaism readings or the Islam readings to compare with Singer (if you want to read about both Judaism and Islam, we won’t stop you). To what extent do you think Singer’s position is complementary to or opposed to the views of animals supported by Judaism or Islam? Are there any points of Singer’s argument that you agree or disagree with?
- Singer writes that “The only thing that distinguishes the infant from the animal, in the eyes of those who claim that it has a ‘right to life’, is that it is, biologically, a member of the species Homo sapiens, whereas chimpanzees, dogs, and pigs are not.” Do you agree with Singer? If not, why not?
- What does Singer mean by speciesism? Do you agree with Singer that speciesism is on a moral par with sexism, racism, and other ism’s? Why or why not?
- What distinction does Singer raise between equal treatment and equal consideration? What is the significance of this point in Singer’s argument.
- Singer says “equality is a moral idea, not an assertion of fact.” Do you agree with Singer, and why do you think this is important?
- What are the differences between an animal welfare view and an animal rights view? Which view does Singer hold? Which view is more strict in terms of the treatment of animals?
- Why do you think Singer spends so much effort explaining whether or not animals feel pain? How do suffering and sentience play a role in Singer’s arguments about the treatment of animals?
- What difference, if any, does Singer say there is between causing suffering to an animal and causing an animal’s death?
- And some kashrut and halal questions:
- What is eco-kashrut? How do kosher and eco-kosher differ?
- How similar are the rules of kashrut and of halal for the treatment of animals slaughtered for food? How do they differ?
- How might the Islamic principle of tayyib relate to food ethics for a Muslim?